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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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最高の自分撮り写真とは?

 
Japan Timesの土曜日は英国のObserverの長めの記事を紹介してくれています。今回はselfieという自分撮りについて、いろいろと考察しているエッセイでした。そこで、selfieの究極形として宇宙飛行士の星出彰彦さんによる写真が紹介されていました。英語ではAki Hoshideとなっています。覚えやすいようにAkiにしているのかもしれませんね。

The trend has even reached outer space: in December, Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide took what might be the greatest selfie of all time at the International Space Station. The resulting image encompassed the sun, the Earth, two portions of a robotic arm, a spacesuit and the deep darkness of the infinite beyond.

英検1級や国連英検特A級を目指す方は、このような作者自身の考えを伝えるエッセイを読んだ方がいいかもしれません。3000語近い長い記事ですが、それなりの考えを伝えるには或る程度の長さがあった方が理解しやすいと思います。

How selfies became a global phenomenon
The smartphone self-portrait or 'selfie' has established itself a form of self-expression. Is it a harmless fad or a dangerous sign of western society's growing narcissism?
Elizabeth Day
The Observer, Sunday 14 July 2013

Words checked = [2772]
Words in Oxford 3000™ = [84%]

導入部はSelfie(自分撮り)のやり方の説明です。少し長いですが引用させてもらいます。手順を説明しているので、段階を追って淡々と説明しているのが分かります。「この英文は手順の説明をしている」と分かって読めば、難易度は高くないのですが、記事がこういう風に始まるととまどってしまう人もいるかもしれません。

It starts with a certain angle: a smartphone tilted at 45 degrees just above your eyeline is generally deemed the most forgiving. Then a light source: the flattering beam of a backlit window or a bursting supernova of flash reflected in a bathroom mirror, as preparations are under way for a night out.
The pose is important. Knowing self-awareness is conveyed by the slight raise of an eyebrow, the sideways smile that says you're not taking it too seriously. A doe-eyed stare and mussed-up hair denotes natural beauty, as if you've just woken up and can't help looking like this. Sexiness is suggested by sucked-in cheeks, pouting lips, a nonchalant cock of the head and a hint of bare flesh just below the clavicle. Snap!
Afterwards, a flattering filter is applied. Outlines are blurred, colours are softened, a sepia tint soaks through to imply a simpler era of vinyl records and VW camper vans.
All of this is the work of an instant. Then, with a single tap, you are ready to upload: to Twitter, to Facebook, to Instagram, each likeness accompanied by a self-referential hashtag. Your image is retweeted and tagged and shared. Your screen fills with thumbs-up signs and heart-shaped emoticons. You are "liked" several times over. You feel a shiver of – what, exactly? Approbation? Reassurance? Existential calm? Whatever it is, it's addictive. Soon, you repeat the whole process, trying out a different pose. Again and again, you offer yourself up for public consumption.
This, then, is the selfie: the self-portrait of the digital age. We are all at it. Just type "selfie" into the Twitter search bar. Or take a look at Instagram, where over 90m photos are currently posted with the hashtag #me.

このエッセイでは、自分を表現して、他者からの承認や自己肯定することは大昔からあったもののが進化した形態にすぎないのではとか、いろいろと考察していきます。

There is nothing new about this, of course. Human beings are social animals and have long been driven by the need for approval and self-affirmation – albeit on a smaller scale. The desire for a pictorial representation of the self goes all the way back to early handprint paintings on cave walls more than 4,000 years ago. In a fast-paced world of ever-changing technology, it could be argued that the selfie is simply a natural evolution of those hands dipped in paint.

"As with so many 'new trends', this one has a fairly distinguished prehistory," explains essayist and author Geoff Dyer. "In 1925 DH Lawrence was bemoaning the way that 'each of us has a complete Kodak idea of himself'. This new phenomenon of the selfie has already been turned into a work of art which is also a sort of visual essay: Richard Misrach's 11.21.11 5.40pm consists of him taking a telephoto shot of a couple on a beach taking a picture of the sea. Then we zoom in closer and closer on each subsequent page until we are able to see the screen of their phone in which is revealed… a self-portrait."

The popularity of the selfie is, says Mariann Hardey, "an extension of how we live and learn about each other" and a way of imparting necessary information about who we are. By way of an example, Hardey says that when her father died suddenly last year, she took refuge in her Instagram feed.

スマホによるselfieの特徴はself-exposure and controlという考えにも触れています。見たい/見せたい自分を撮って発表するという流れですね。

The key is the idea of "manageable reality": celebrities can now exercise more control than ever over the dissemination of their image. The paradox at the heart of the selfie is that it masquerades as a "candid" shot, taken without access to airbrushing or post-production, but in fact, a carefully posed selfie, edited with all the right filters, is a far more appealing prospect than a snatched paparazzo shot taken from a deliberately unflattering angle.

"It's about self-exposure and control," says artist Simon Foxall, whose work questions the parameters of individuality and self-expression. "A selfie blurs the line between 'reality' and the performance of a fantasy self, so one collapses into the other."

Beyond that, a judicious use of selfies can make good business sense too: Alexa Chung and Florence Welch have both used selfies to post daily updates on what they are wearing, thereby cementing their position as modern style icons and guaranteeing, no doubt, the continuation of a series of lucrative fashion deals. (Chung, for one, has designed a womenswear line for the fashion brand Madewell for the last three years.)

とは言っても、自分でコントロールできるのはネットにアップするまで。その後はコントロールきかなくなると警告してこのエッセイを締めていました。

In some ways, of course, the notion of control is disingenuous: once a selfie is posted online, it is out there for public delectation. Future employers can see it. Marketers can use it. A resentful former lover could exploit it.

You can use digital technology to manipulate your own image as much as you like. But the truth about selfies is that once they are online, you can never control how other people see you.

selfieという単語については、英辞郎が載せていました。さすがですね。このエッセイの最後にこの後の変遷を紹介してくれています。2005年に生まれた新語のようですね。

(英辞郎)
selfie
【名】
《イ》自分で撮った自分の写真


Selfies: A brief history
2005 The term "selfie" is first used by Richard Krause in a "how-to" photography guide. "The guesswork that goes into selfies often results in serendipitous photographic surprises," he notes.

Feb 2007 A user of the photo-sharing site Flickr creates a group called "selfie shots", defining selfie as: "A photograph of oneself in an arm-extended posture. Not to be confused with a photo of oneself in a mirror or other reflected surface."

June 2010 Apple releases the iPhone 4 featuring a very basic front-facing camera, which was included to enable users to take advantage of video-calling apps such as Apple's FaceTime and Skype, but also allows users to frame their self-portraits.
Oct 2010 Instagram is launched, reaching more than 100 million active users by April 2012. The app enables people to share photos from their smartphones and enhance them with filters. Since its launch more than 23m photos have been uploaded to the app with the "#selfie" hashtag.

June 2012 Selfie joins the OED's watchlist of words for possible inclusion. "This colloquial term for a photographic self-portrait has thus far appeared primarily in social media contexts," it notes.

Dec 2012 Selfie appears in Time magazine's top buzzwords of 2012. "Selfies are often snapped at odd angles with smartphones and include part of the photographer's arm," it observes.
Jan 2013 The Obamas' daughters, Malia and Sasha, are pictured taking a selfie at their father's presidential inauguration.

March 2013 The Daily Mail publishes its first moral panic piece about selfies, headlined: "The craze for pouting pictures I fear my daughters will end up regretting." The writer adds: "It's as though a whole generation of teenage girls has lost the ability to smile naturally."

April 2013 The Samsung Galaxy S4 is released, featuring a 2 megapixel front-facing camera.

June 2013 Instagram launches the fourth version of its software, the app's new 15-second video feature. The age of the selfie movie is upon us…
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